Our region is full of new technologies, innovations, and impressive world-class ventures – but what fuels every part of this incredible innovation economy is not tech, ideas, or money, it’s the people. Entrepreneurs spend their lives dedicated to finding bright, new ideas and turning them into something that creates jobs for our communities, products for our consumption, and services that make everyday life better, easier, and happier. Understanding the people, drive, and stories behind the innovations helps to understand just why our Southwestern Ontario region is so ripe with ideas and ventures. Our communities foster connectedness and a collective drive for bigger, better, more impactful innovation, focused on the learning and growing of each new and serial entrepreneur to build people that build innovations that build our world.
Meet Dollar Luo, a young and driven entrepreneur and role model who is impacting the London innovation economy in so many ways. Currently working as the Executive Director at RollUP Solutions Inc., Luo has a hunger for entrepreneurship and a drive to learn that powers her innate ability to wear many hats, help many people, and create new solutions for our communities.
RollUP Solutions is a student-run non-profit dedicated to refurbishing and repurposing mobility devices to be used by those who cannot afford to buy new. The process starts by receiving donations within the London-Middlesex area and ensuring they meet safety standards to be reused once refurbished. To give these devices a second chance at life, RollUP Solutions has partnered with Goodwill Industries, employing people who face employment barriers and use their skilled work to upcycle and refurbish the mobility devices. The devices are then sold or donated at a 95% discount to those unable to afford a wheelchair or walker.
With a dedication to accessibility, both physically and financially, RollUP Solutions is finding the right solutions for every person involved along the way. “Looking into the numbers, we found that thousands of devices were going unused every year,” says Luo, “The process of recycling mobility devices is difficult, and there was a large need for affordability from the community.” RollUP Solutions also partners with hospitals in the London-Middlesex region to provide devices to patients in need, as well as with True North Aid, a program that brings mobility devices to northern communities that typically face additional barriers to access.
Dollar Luo is an exceptional entrepreneur with a success-filled trajectory fueled by community care and entrepreneurial spirit. She is a finalist for TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario’s upcoming Limitless 2022 Awards in the Forthcomer category, recognizing a young professional and true trailblazer working to contribute to and create an impact in the world of innovation. She is also currently participating in Next36, an elite program for some of Canada’s most entrepreneurial undergrads and recent grads, which allows for unbeatable education in start-ups and ventures that will allow participants like Luo to develop as founders and excel as entrepreneurs. Adding to the do-good attitude that she leads her life with, Luo also recently became one of twelve members on the Social Finance Committee at the London Community Foundation, reviewing and evaluating funding opportunities for social enterprises and non-traditional initiatives that create a tangible impact in our London communities. Luo’s most recent journey has taken her to become the Director of Product and a founding member of a new tech start-up called Honest Empathy, an online platform for mental health solutions.
With accolades, awards, and education on her side, Dollar Luo is a shining example of the young, spirited entrepreneurs that our region has within it. Witnessing students becoming a part of the ecosystem in important and impactful ways is one of the many beauties of innovation, as continued learning is part of each and every entrepreneurial journey. From brand new founders to serial entrepreneurs, small businesses to large enterprises, and local or even global companies, our region casts a glowing light on what it means to be an entrepreneur – be creative, be innovative, and be a part of our vibrant community.